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Picasso’s granddaughter shows his drawings at Sotheby’s Paris—but they’re not for sale

A non-commercial exhibition by an auction house is less of a rarity in the French capital

Marina’s favourite: Le Peintre et son modèle, 1955

A non-selling exhibition courtesy of a major auction house would be unusual in the trading centres of London or New York, but in Paris—where overseas firms were legally barred from holding auctions until 1998—they are less of a rarity. So, Sotheby’s in Paris is adding to the delights of the events surrounding the city’s venerable Salon du dessin art fair this week (26-31 March) with a non-selling exhibition of 50 Picasso drawings, and some ceramics, from the collection of the artist’s granddaughter, Marina Picasso (“Picasso et le nu”, 28 March-1 April, 76 rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré).

According to Aurélie Vandevoorde, Sotheby’s head of Impressionist and Modern art in Paris, the idea for the exhibition came after the auction house’s experts saw drawings from the collection at the Centre d’art La Malmaison in Cannes last year. Marina Picasso, who has a long-standing relationship with Sotheby’s, was “very enthusiastic”, says Vandevoorde, adding that “there are several overseas collectors in town for the Salon [du Dessin] who won’t have seen the works before.”

The Sotheby’s show has fewer works than its Cannes counterpart, but has some additional material. This includes Corps de Femme de Face, 1908, a rare large-size drawing (62.9cm x 48cm) executed just after Picasso had painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907 and employing the same experimentation that led the artist to Cubism. According to Vandevoorde, Marina Picasso’s favourite work in the collection is a later drawing, Le Peintre et son modèle, 1955, which normally hangs in the 19th-century “Villa California” in Cannes, the artist’s former home and studio where Marina now lives.

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